Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Clutched – RETRO Wordplay Wednesday™ 09/05/18

WW's big bro site logo: Blast from Your Past!
Wordplay Wednesday Goes Retro! 

I thoroughly enjoy bringing an obscure, long un-used, or confounding word to your already overloaded brains every week, but it’s time to tweak the weekly grind with a fun romp down Memory Lane.

For the whole month of September, we’ll explore words and phrases from yesteryear to play with the memories of Boomers and those holding on to 39 as long as possible. For the young’uns, it’ll probably be a humorous venture, at best.*

Every decade has its kitschy slang and funny fascination with skewed definitions, so each week we’ll explore a different decade: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, respectively, thanks to my cousin/best friend, Ron. It was his idea and while I’d love to hog the credit, he’d say, “I knew you’d do that.” So I’m proving him wrong. 😊

Feel free to tuck these vocabulary tidbits into a corner of your mind until the next time you make it a point to visit someone who will enjoy your newfound knowledge or rekindled memory. Make it a meaningful and fun way to connect!

Tickling your tranny from the Fabulous Fifties … since Ron is a classic car buff, we’re revving up this week’s retro word knowledge with …

CLUTCHED (kluch -ed) vi. – Rejected. [WW/RETRO-1 #180]
            Dictionary definition, in short: 1) to snatch or seize (at); 2) to engage the clutch of an automobile, etc.

Yup. When guys chatted in their bravado manner, common waaaaay back in the 1950s (think Grease, West Side Story, and The Godfather), they often used vehicle metaphors.

Now, we could hypothesize that they knew they were creating slang for a “real” word like discarded, disdained, or spurned; but if girls were around, using a car term also served to keep them from eavesdropping. Cars …engines … tires and clutches … grease … ewwww! We weren’t listening.

So poor jilted John boasted to Frank, “Yeah, man, at least I got to second base before I spent too much dough on her, and she clutched.” Granted, still not perfect grammar, but then car talk often isn’t. (Don’t get huffy guys—girl talk nearly always isn’t! Like, for sure!)

What’s interesting though, is the number of words that suffered twisted definitions or slid into slang, in the 1950s through the 1970s especially, that are still in use today. This is just one list that you can peruse and pick up a whole new language for your next retro “bash.”

Do you have a “blast” when you’re having fun? Is your new car really “cool”? Whatever your age, I’m sure you’re “tight” with someone who will appreciate your hip “jets” (smarts, brains).

From Mel’s Drive-In to the 1956 Ford Thunderbird, hope you have a mah-velous stroll down Memory Lane!

Word Challenge: CLUTCHED.  It’s easy to ridicule a generation for their outdated slang and “old” ways; but remember two important dynamics: intertwined with faded jargon is age-transcending wisdom, and; *2) treat every age with tolerance, as you will be there someday too. Food for thought, as you fit clutched into your week of vintage writings.

Learning knows no prejudices or boundaries, and it isn’t fattening! Expanding your mind is a no-cost, simple joy. Do you feel that way too? What’s your inspiration? Share your creative genius and Wordplay Wednesday comments below.

Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle) 


LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and an author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) in her Blast from Your Past series, available on Amazon (eBook and print): Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon, … The Psychedelic Seventies!


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